State parks provide affordable and memorable vacation opportunities

By Morgan Goddard, Assistant Editor

Summer is a wonderful time filled with family, friends, and for many people, vacation. We spend hundreds of dollars going to the beach, the mountains, and even going out of the country. However, vacation does not have to cost the much. For residents of West Virginia, and other states, an affordable vacation option could be state parks.

This past weekend, my family and I enjoyed a stay at Tomlinson Run State Park. For under $50.00, we pulled our camper into a spot. The park offers many activities, such as mini golf, swimming, paddle boats, row boats, and many hiking trails. The scenery was gorgeous, and as our weekend ended, we all found ourselves wishing it hadn’t.

It’s not just Tomlinson though. I’ve stayed at many state parks throughout the Mountain State, and have had a just as good time, if not better, then when we’ve gone on more lavish vacations. Again, not only do you save money, but you also get to further your own appreciation for your state’s beauty.

Another unique aspect of vacationing at states parks in West Virginia is the chance to enroll in the West Virginia Very Important Parks Person, or the VIPP, program. According to the West Virginia state park website, this program was introduced in 1986 to recognize those who frequently visited the state’s recreational areas and supported them. One obtains membership by visiting twenty states parks and forests from a designated list.

VIPP members form a permanent organization and often hold meet-ups. Participants must visit fifteen mandatory parks, and five “elective” parks. A cool aspect of the program is that once you make the required visits, the program will send you a membership certificate, card and windbreaker. I will definitely be signing up.

For more information, please visit; call them at (304) 558-2764; or mail them at 1900 Kanawha Blvd,. E,. Building 3, Room 709, Charleston, West Virginia, 25305-0662.